With pubs reopening this month, the National Citizen Service and the NHS have joined forces to encourage teenagers aged 16 and over to sign up to donate their first pint – of blood.
The NCS and NHS Blood and Transport’s My First Pint initiative aims to help meet the need for 135,000 new blood donors a year and is specifically calling on young people to ensure a mix of ethnicity and blood groups.
For example, an additional 40,000 black donors are needed however only 1.5% of blood donors are currently black but are ten times more likely than white people to have an important Ro blood subtype for treating sickle cell diseases.
Teens can register on the NHS ‘Give Blood’ website where they can make an appointment to donate. Registration is open as soon as they turn 16, with the opportunity to donate from their 17th birthday. Donation slots are available five months following registration, and there is also advice on how to give blood during Covid-19.
Mark Gifford, NCS Chief Executive, said:
“During lockdown, we’ve seen the nation really come together and collectively show their support for the NHS. We want to maintain this momentum and ask less vulnerable teenagers across the country to keep doing good by donating their first pint of blood while potentially saving a life in the process. Teenagers are ready to play a part in rebuilding their local communities and want to help reshape the future post-COVID – this is just one of the many ways they can show their commitment to our ‘One Million Hours of Doing Good’ initiative and demonstrate a ‘No We Can’ attitude.”
Mike Stredder, Director of Blood Donation at NHS Blood and Transplant added:
“We need 400 people to register as new donors every day to maintain the blood supply, for the best chance of keeping hearts pumping. For many reasons it’s vital that young people continue to register and donate – particularly young men and black people – not least because older people become less likely to be able to donate blood.”
‘My First Pint’ is part of NCS’s ‘One Million Hours of Doing Good’: a wider pledge to enable up to one million hours for teens to take an active role in helping the country recover post Covid-19.
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